Golden retriever Abby listens while Annie Letheman (right) reads to her sister Ruby and researcher Camille Rousseau (middle) observes.

Kids read better with dogs: UBCO study

A UBC Okanagan study shows students spend more time reading when a dog is present

Abby patiently listens while Annie Letheman reads aloud to her sister Ruby.

Abby is a Golden Retriever who is, oddly enough, helping the children learn to read.

According to Camille Rousseau, a doctoral student in UBC Okanagan’s School of Education, said her research has found that students spend significantly more time reading and showed more persistence when a dog—regardless of breed or age—is in the room as opposed to when they read without them.

Rousseau’s findings came from a study of the behaviour of 17 children from Grades 1 to 3 who read with and without a dog present.

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan BARK program helps local kids with social skills

The study was conducted with Christine Tardif-Williams, a professor at Brock University’s department of child and youth studies.

“Our study focused on whether a child would be motivated to continue reading longer and persevere through moderately challenging passages when they are accompanied by a dog,” said Rousseau.

The students in the study were chosen on their ability to read independently. Before the study, each child was tested to determine their reading range and to ensure they would be assigned appropriate story excerpts.

According to Rousseau, during the study’s sessions participants would read aloud to either an observer, the dog handler and their pet or without the dog.

Rousseau found the children read for longer and were more determined when a dog was with them.

“In addition, the children reported feeling more interested and more competent,” she said.

With the recent rise in popularity of therapy dog reading programs in schools, libraries and community organizations, Rousseau stated their research could help to develop ‘gold-standard’ canine-assisted intervention strategies for struggling young readers.

She hopes the study increases organizations’ understanding of how children’s reading could be enhanced by furry friends.

Rousseau is continuing her research on how canine-assisted therapy can influence students in other educational contexts through UBC’s therapy dog program—Building Academic Retention through K9’s (BARK).

READ MORE: Student stress relief: wagging tails and smiling faces


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snapshot: Cap and gown in the time of COVID-19

Eagle River Secondary did what they could to keep highscool graduation as normal as possible.

Fallen tree and fire to blame for Shuswap power outage

BC Hydro restored the outage in about an hour.

Boating Safety Week a chance to take stock of hazards on Shuswap Lake

Submerged logs, cold water and intoxicated captains are all safety concerns

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

Most Read